NewsTreasure CoastRegion Martin County


'Worst possible outcome:' Body of missing 71-year-old Jupiter man found in Hungryland preserve

No visible signs of trauma to Robert Jaegers' body, Martin County Sheriff's Office says
Posted at 10:06 AM, Mar 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-26 18:56:39-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — The body of a missing and endangered man was found Tuesday afternoon in the swampy Hungryland Wildlife and Environmental Area near the Palm Beach and Martin County line.

In a social media post at approximately 1:30 p.m., the Martin County Sheriff's Office said the search for Robert Jaegers, 71, of Jupiter, has ended "unfortunately with the worst possible outcome" after his body was found inside the preserve just after noon.

"Although we do not know his exact cause of death, there does not appear to be any visible signs of trauma to Mr. Jaegers," the sheriff's office wrote.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, which was also involved in the search, said Jaegers had been missing from the Jupiter area since Monday. He was last seen near Indiantown Road.

Jaegers was considered endangered "due to his medical health," the sheriff's office wrote on social media.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said Jaegers was an assistant state attorney for decades.

"This is a big loss for the office. We feel like we're his extended family," Aronberg said. "Bob was well respected and loved by the entire office."

Martin County Chief Deputy John Budensiek said the man's body was found in a swampy area.

"A little bit before noon today, they were searching an area off a main trail, then they followed a small offshoot trail kind of into the swamp and located Mr. Jaegers deceased in the swamp area," Budensiek said. "Mr. Jaegers is located ... about a mile back in the woods so it is a process to get back in there to recover all the evidence, if there is any that's near that location, and do their initial analysis of the body before they remove him."

Aronberg said Jaeger's commitment to the community — especially veterans — will forever be remembered.

"He was in charge of the veteran's court. That's an innovative program that allows veterans who come back with PTSD or drug issues and commit crimes to get their lives back," Aronberg said. "His passion was to help others. It wasn't just to lock people up."

The Martin County Sheriff's Office said its criminal investigations detectives are handling this as a death investigation and will release information as it becomes available.